India and China have intensified efforts to iron out trade differences, with two high-profile meetings set to take place in coming weeks that will address mutual concerns over anti-dumping investigations and barriers to investment.

A trade remedy joint working group will meet in Beijing on Tuesday to come up with a mechanism to nip trade disputes in the bud before they lead to the filing of formal anti-dumping investigations, officials said. J.K. Dadoo, Joint Secretary in the Department of Commerce at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, will lead the Indian delegation in talks with Chinese officials at the Ministry of Commerce this week, for the third meeting of a trade remedy working group.

The group will primarily look at anti-dumping investigations and examine whether such cases can be settled before formal complaints are filed. India initiated 149 anti-dumping cases against China, accounting for more than 50 per cent of all cases India has filed against foreign countries, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia said in December. At present, 77 anti-dumping measures against China were also in place, he added.

In recent years, India also filed more anti-dumping investigations against China than any other country at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). India has filed anti-dumping cases on a range of Chinese products, from toys, textiles and mobile phones to tyres and chemicals. China, on its part, has taken anti-dumping measures on Indian antibiotics.

“The idea behind this trade remedy group is to look to see if we can settle these issues without them leading to measures being initiated,” an official said.

Rising trade deficit

The spate of anti-dumping investigations initiated by India comes against the backdrop of a rising trade deficit, which soared to a record $27 billion last year. Bilateral trade reached $74 billion, propelling China to become India's biggest trade partner. Trade rose by $12 billion from 2011.

Both countries will also hold talks next month to boost mutual investments. Planning Commission member B.K. Chaturvedi will travel to Beijing for the first-ever meeting of a policy coordination working group to get rid of “impediments” that have held up mutual investments.

This followed a decision taken by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and his counterpart, Zhang Ping, who heads the powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), at the BRICS Summit in New Delhi, to set up a body to tackle concerns expressed by both countries on persisting barriers to investment.

China has voiced objections to visa policies as well as restrictions to investment posed on account of security concerns. India, meanwhile, has called for greater market access for companies in the Information Technology and pharmaceuticals sectors.